If you didn’t know, I work from home (read: my bedroom) full-time as the Senior Editor of Android Police. Yep, I bring you in-depth reviews and news three feet from my mattress. Doesn’t that sound nice? Most people seem to think so – every time I tell someone I work from home, they express envy. I’m not so sure they always understand what working from home can mean, though.
Working from home can actually be difficult, and sometimes flat-out undesirable. You have to be disciplined and stay focused – not exactly easy for me to do, personally.
For example, I like to keep a tidy work space, but I also tend to put various crap all over my desk when the day is done, and like to have electronics, tools, and other stuff I might want within arm’s reach at any given moment. I wage a constant war against myself going from clean one day to messy the next, and sometimes I just give up. Then, I have a hard time focusing because my desk is cluttered.
I absolutely get cabin fever being in my room for hours and days on end. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop or library to work, but the internet connection is so slow that it makes doing my job much less efficient.
The moment I decide I’m done for the day, I have to force myself to get out of my own room, or I’ll go a little crazy. That’s so weird to me. Shouldn’t home be the place I go to relax? I have a really hard time with this on occasion, and have taken to long post-work walks around town just to get my mind out of “work” mode.
No commute means that figuring out when I “start” work is really just a matter of deciding when I want to get up (to an extent). If I start at 6:30AM, do I stop early like I would at a normal job, or do I go until I feel like I’ve done enough for the day? At a desk job, you typically have scheduled start and stop times, and while some people hate this, I can’t lie – I miss the structure sometimes.
My home computer is my work computer. So is my laptop. My work programs, Chrome tabs, and other stuff all come up automatically when I log in. It’s easy to get drawn back into a small work task just because I notice an email or message in chat. Working remotely can make “escaping” work hard.
There’s no dress code, so sometimes it’s an excuse to be kind of a slob.
There are benefits, of course. No money spent commuting. No worrying about being late (generally). I can largely make my own schedule if I have things I need to do during the week. Once I’m done for the day, I’m already home! But working from home is not without disadvantages, as you may be able to see now. I often wondered what it was like before starting AP, and now I know. Would I prefer to work in an office? I’m really not sure. For this job, maybe I would – I really like the people I work with, and I’m sure we’d have an awesome time working together in person.
All in all, it’s a matter of preference, of course. Working from home is far from the worst thing in the world, but it definitely takes adjusting to, and requires you to much more actively enforce a life / work balance.